Organised crime groups targeting rural Borders communities

‘PINCER movements’ of organised crime groups – some utilising drones – are targeting rural communities in the Borders, a police chief has revealed.

Travelling criminals from Midlothian and County Durham are heading to the region to carry out crimes such as stealing quad bikes and livestock offences.

And in some circumstances drones are being used for “casing the joint” ahead of crimes being committed.

Chief inspector Vincent Fisher, divisional commander for the Scottish Borders, admitted “we have got a job ahead” to tackle the crime groups when he addressed a meeting of the council’s Police, Fire & Rescue and Safer Communities Board today (June 10).

He said: “I receive a national rural and heritage crime report every day, so I can see trends emerging, whether it be fuel thefts, livestock offences, or theft of masonry from a national monument.

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“We have a unique problem in the Scottish Borders in terms of rural crime in that we have very little in terms of home-grown criminality. There are very few people in the Borders who are going out stealing quad bikes. What we do have is a problem with travelling criminals coming down from the likes of Edinburgh and Midlothian and travelling up from County Durham and Bishop Auckland.

“These are organised crime groups who are getting more organised between themselves with these almost pincer movements that are coming down. We have got a job ahead of us here because we have 18 hundred square miles to cover and nearly two and half thousand miles of road, which is a tall order for anyone.

“What we have done in the last month or two is get the relationship between ourselves and Northumberland to be a bit more tactical.

“These crime groups themselves are starting to get more sophisticated. They are starting to send up drones to carry out a recce. So if you see a drone up above your farm, we’d like to know about it.”

Border Telegraph | News